Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. Stronger Washington

Minimum Wage Increases on January 1st: JOBS v. WAGES
Author: Peter Abbarno
December 27, 2019

The state minimum wage increases on Wednesday, January 1, from $12 an hour to $13.50. In cities, like Seattle, the minimum wage is already higher than the state’s and in SeaTac, minimum wage is $15.64.

Family Wage Jobs aren’t created by focusing on the word ‘WAGE’. Family Wage Jobs are created by focusing on the word ‘JOBS’. Government needs to incentivize economic growth, encourage business development, eliminate overburdensome regulations, and invest in an education system that gives students greater career and college ready options. The emphasis should be on Job Creation.

Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Councilmember

In 2016, Voters passed Initiative 1433 to increase the state’s minimum wage every year from 2017 to 2020. Washington’s minimum wage was $9.47 an hour; the eighth highest minimum wage in the country. Some municipalities, like the City of Seattle, increased minimum wage to $15 an hour.

A report released by the University of Washington in 2017, which was commissioned by the Seattle City Council, found that although the economy absorbed the first wage increase from $9.47 an hour to $11 an hour, things were different when wages increased again. When the wage increased to $13 an hour for some small employers and $15 an hour for some large employers, it caused a reduction in hours for low-wage workers. The UW report, says they found an approximate 9 percent decline in the number of hours for those earning less than $19 an hour. That offsets the 3 percent increase in pay workers got, having a negative impact overall.

Grounbreaking of new Stihl NW facility at the Port of Centralia, with Sen. John Braun, Rep. Richard DeBolt, Port Commissioner Julie Shaffley, Chehalis City Councilmember Chad Taylor and Centralia City Councilmember Peter Abbarno.

Some national studies have shown that raising the minimum wage does not reduce overall poverty. Research from the Employment Policies Institute shows that raising the minimum wage hurts the minimally skilled and the least-experienced citizen searching for jobs the most.

John Stossel, a poltical and consumer commentator, investigates numerous policies and claims at One investigation was $15 minimum wage increase in Seattle, which evidenced the impact minimum wage increase had on entry-level jobs.

The Washington Policy Center has also commented on Seattle’s $15/hour minimum wage would benefit some but hurt others, especially entry-level and low skilled workers.

Centralia attorney Peter Abbarno joins AWB Government Affairs Director Clay Hill to testify in opposition to Senate Bill 5129, which would increase taxes on employers. (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB)

There are a lot of good arguments made on both sides of the minimum wage increase issue; some based on conjecture and some based on statistics. Having been an employee and; now employer and small business owner, I support creating family wage jobs over merely increasing wages. Minimum wage increases are a distraction from what is really needed- the creation of career jobs with long-term sustainability.

Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Councilmember

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